The left-wing candidate for the European Commission Presidency, Alexis Tsipras, has claimed Republican Leader Gerry Adams is a “scapegoat” because of his arrest for murder. The Greek socialist also believes that Adams is a “pioneer of peace” and that his arrest is an “inflammatory act”.
Mr Tsipras is the President of SYRIZA, the coalition of the radical left in Greece, and European Left candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.
He has hit out because Gerry Adams is being held for the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. He described Adams’ arrest as an “act against democracy” and “opportunistic”.
The comments are likely to cause outrage in Britain and Northern Ireland, because Tsipras appears to suggest that Police ought not to properly investigate the brutal murder. It will raise further questions about the attitude of European leaders to Britain.
Tsipras said: “The arrest and detention of the leader of Sinn Fein and pioneer of the peace process in Northern Ireland Gerry Adams is a politically inflammatory act against democracy and the always fragile peace and normality in the region.
“A so provocative initiative cannot but concern the entire democratic Europe. Because Gerry Adams is a major political personality of our times.
“Gerry Adams is not alone. He has on his side, apart from the Greek people, every democratic citizen in each corner of Europe, who despises the scapegoat policy as well as opportunistic pre-electoral actions, a few days ahead of the local and European elections of May 23rd in Ireland.
“In my capacity as President of SYRIZA and European Left candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission, I ask for the immediate and unconditional liberation of Gerry Adams.
Mrs McConville was from a Protestant background but married into a Catholic family and had 10 children. She was kidnapped, held for multiple days, and then brutally murdered. Her body was only discovered in 2003.
When it was discovered that her children recognised the kidnappers they returned and beat up her children, threatening them to such an extent that they are still too scared to identify those responsible. Whilst Adams has not been charged, he was a close friend and ally with Ivor Bell, who has already been charged with the crime.
The two men shared a prison cell in Long Kesh, known as “The General’s Cage” because its inmates were so senior within the Republican movement.
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